Thursday, November 4, 2010

11/4 - Severely Curtailed

Mostly just the bare lines of questioning this week (of all the weeks to have been reading *The Handmaid's Tale*) - too apprehensive for much more, and not about Zenyatta, although it was a shame the Breeder's Cup was on a synthetic track last year, which was the main reason she never opposed the now-faded Rachel Alexandra.

L1: To LW1, the whole family shamed you for turning her in. Your grandparents have been a great support to you. Where do these two overlap? They don't seem to belong in the same letter. To LW1's grandmother: What sacrifice if any are you making and are you providing your daughter with necessities, luxuries, or the capacity to harm herself further? Is the money really necessary or are you just trying to coerce your grandson into a symbolic act of forgiveness? Just why do you so badly need him to validate your choices for you?

Moral: It may not make any difference to what one does, but it may modify how one does it.

L2: To LW2, exactly why have you attended every year? Why is it acceptable in your marriage for you to be upset by your hosts but not for your husband to be upset by conflict? And how does he expect you to earn their respect by confronting them if conflict would upset him so? Why not spend the occasion in a place where you actually have a chance of having a pleasant evening, which you know by experience is not in that cousin's home? Why not contact the host privately in advance to request as a favour there being no repetition of the annual bullying, and then leave with dignity when it occurs? Which members of the family actually have good opinions worth earning and keeping? Why not invite those members to see if you can start your own tradition for an actual pleasant evening in convivial company without the toxic cousin? But mainly, which sentiments are actually your husband's and which are you putting into his mouth?

To the Prudecutor: Since when should Thanksgiving be a lovely event? How many people on the planet are there who are capable of gathering with a far-too-large group of ill-matched dinner companions for a poorly-orchestrated meal the menu of which is usually conducive to irritation and friction within the party who will genuinely call the occasion a lovely event afterwards and mean it instead of lying about as convincingly as Ms Messy and Dr Susan would declare themselves BFFs? Why do you persist in advising people to tell social lies that are so unconvincing they have almost no chance of being believed?

Moral: There's a reason why Hercule Poirot believes so many more murders than might statistically be expected occur during Christmas gatherings.

L3: To LW3, why on earth does your daughter's being an independent young woman whose life seems to be on the right track make you think you ought not to tell her she literally stinks? How much are you willing to see this cost her before you do? And why does this not prevent you from telling your children other, presumably far less urgent, truths?

Moral: Tell it or smell it?

L4: To LW4, exactly what kind of leader are you? How little influence do you have that this ridiculous program is still being perpetuated? Why do you have to participate in the Kool-Aid drinking ritual? And why have you never learned the urgent need to use the restroom when these degrading exercises take place? Wouldn't you really be happier if you just learned to love Big Brother after all?

My thanks, by the way, to Mr Messy for clearing up any uncertainty about the nature of the programme.

My only parallel for the week will be the *Daria* episode, "The F Word," in which Mr O'Neil assigns his English class to pick something at which each of them knows (s)he can't possibly succeed and fail at it. Early results are promising. Jody fails to convince her parents to let her have any free time during the summer, Mac fails to teach Kevin the branches of the U.S. government and Daria fails to convince Jake and Helen not to let Quinn have a major shopping spree. But then there are the successes. Kevin hands the other team the football and succeeds at being a bad athlete. Brittany asks Daria for advice on boring topics of conversation with her fellow cheerleaders and succeeds at being unpopular. Most startlingly, Jane changes her hair, applies kiwi-flavoured lip gloss, dons a teddy-bear backpack and unnerves Tom by succeeding at being conventional. Kevin and Brittany are kicked off their respective squads, and Mr O'Neil is soon in despair over how his terrible assignment has brought ruin to the school. Mac and Jody eventually intercede for Kevin and Brittany while Daria and Jane convince Mr O'Neil that his failure was a success. However, the most alarming success is that of Jane, who decides to remain conventional for a while, even to the point of being invited to try out for Brittany's spot on the cheerleading squad. Sanity and order are restored when Jane, at the moment of her tryout, has a vision of dating Kevin which spooks her back into being her artistic self, while her sarcastic cheer convinces the squad to take Brittany back.

Moral: "You had bouncity-bounce?"

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